INC denies owning jet, bank accounts
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) does not own luxurious private planes, the church’s spokesperson said on Thursday in response to allegations the sect owned an Airbus 330-202 and a Boeing executive jet which the INC leadership supposedly used on trips abroad.
Expelled INC ministers Isaias Samson Jr. and Vincent Florida accused church leaders of committing irregularities in the handling of cash donations from US-based churches that were allegedly deposited in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.
‘He can have it’
Samson said the cash was flown to those places in the private planes own-ed by the INC, both of which reportedly cost between $200 million and $250 million (approximately P9.5 billion to P12 billion).
“If Samson can prove the church owns an Airbus 330-202, or any other airplane for that matter, then he can have it,” Zabala said.
Zabala hurled a similar challenge at Samson and Florida regarding the alleged offshore accounts in the Caymans and Switzerland.
He said church leaders were willing to sign a waiver allowing the two or an investigator to inquire about the INC with the proper authorities in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland.
Zabala said the INC had very stringent audit protocols that enabled it to meet the strict tax-exempt status requirements of the United States.
“We follow protocols in the deposit of cash collections. We also have very stringent audit procedures, otherwise the church would not be granted tax exempt status by the US government,” he said.
Zabala said the offerings from church members were properly audited and went to the construction of churches and to the various INC socio-civic activities. He said more than 800 churches had been constructed in different parts of the world under the leadership of Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.
The spokesperson said the INC was saddened by the statements of Samson and Florida, who were expelled from the church in July.
Zabala suspected that Samson and the other former ministers who had been attacking the INC “may be part of a systematic, planned effort to discredit the church.”
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